The passenger identification process for boarding a domestic or *Common Travel Area (CTA) flight, uses facial image recognition technology and here we explain what facial recognition is and how it's used at Gatwick.

The photo identification process uses iris recognition technology and here we explain what iris recognition is and how it's used at Gatwick.

What is Iris recognition?

Facial image recognition is an automated way of recognising a human face through technology. It uses biometrics to map unique facial features from a live image and compares it to a previously captured image to verify that the two are the same person.

Facial recognition is perfectly safe and works with adults and children and does not always require glasses and hats to be removed.

We use this system to provide irrefutable evidence that passengers boarding a domestic or CTA flight are the same individuals who entered the airports international departure lounge.

The following data is captured through a combination of a scan of a passengers Boarding Pass and a facial image being taken:

  • Boarding pass details (which includes the passenger name)
  • Passenger photo (taken as identification backup)
  • Facial biometric algorithm results (taken as the primary identification)

*Common Travel Area (CTA) countries are the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. 

On the use of facial recognition at the airport we are acting under a published order of the Home Office (Written Notice – Designating the Immigration Control Area Specifying Conditions and Restrictions to be Observed in a Control Area – Immigration Act 1971 Schedule 2 Paragraph 26(3)), the “Written Notice”.

Facial image recognition at Gatwick Airport is not an optional system but further to our obligations pursuant to the Written Notice we operate a “no fly” policy for any passengers who do not go through the facial recognition system in the designated areas.
Gatwick Airport is concerned with the rights of privacy of all of our customers. We have consulted with the Information Commissioner in relation to use of facial image recognition at the airport and will use all efforts to ensure that your rights as a valued customer are protected.

Self-boarding trials

Gatwick is currently testing innovative digital solutions where passengers travelling on selected international flights will have an option to self-board using newly available automated technology which uses biometric recognition.

As part of the trials, you and/or your infant/minor* may be able to check your baggage and/or board the flight by simply enrolling at the available kiosks, presenting your flight documents and passport, and having your personal data collected for the purpose of verification of identity and travel documents.

*Under 18 years of age with your consent, as the legal guardian.

There is more information about our policy on personal data in relation to the self-boarding trials in the Privacy Policy below.

Self-boarding trials - privacy notice